Rattler brings back memories, history

Lynn Moncus

The Rattler Paper Committee, composed of Marian Farmer Knapp, Norma Jean Redhage Crellin, and Nancy Ward Napier, is most definitely to be commended this year for publishing 56 pages of pictures and reading material. By adding some colored pictures, they enhanced the appearance of their already first-class publication.

This is one paper that needs to be browsed through very carefully in order to appreciate all the work they did as well as to see what is on the next page. By including the first copy of The Rattler, published Oct. 1, 1926, they gave us a major glimpse into the past and reminded us of just how important our high school paper was to each of us as we attended THS. Reading about relatives and friends was both a pleasure and a privilege. Tucumcari Lumber Company was the only business advertising then that is still here today. Although many of the students and teachers mentioned in that first edition are no more, a lot of us had the opportunity to know them and recall their activities in the later years.

The article by Dave Stratton is outstanding as he presents much information about our area’s first tourists, including Francisco Vasquez de Coronado who led a party of conquistadors through here in 1540. That article reminds us of the major celebration staged in Tucumcari in 1940 in recognition of his passage. Those of you who haven’t viewed Ben Carlton Mead’s portrait of Coronado in the courthouse should do so as it is one of our county treasures painted while the courthouse was being built and funded as a W.P.A. project. Seeing the high school pictures of the Host Class of 1974 also brings back many memories. From all reports, they are very well organized and will see that all people attending the reunion have a good time. Their class book is also a major publication that must be read carefully. Because of all their work, the rest of us can attend, knowing that all will go as planned. The officers and board of directors of the Tucumcari Alumni Association work throughout the year to see that plans are carried out, that the paper is published, and that all business is in order. A major task is the updating of the address list so as many former Rattlers as possible can be contacted each year. Those people spend much time in helping the host classes make their arrangements and are constantly thinking up new activities for the first weekend in August. The addition of the Rattler Den is one example of their thinking and gives us a place to browse while remembering our years at THS. They most definitely deserve our thanks. This year, they will also have a small general store in which Rattlers can do a little shopping.

I certainly want to thank them for the full-page spread about Quay County, New Mexico 1903-2003: A Pictorial History. That book, as well as Tucumcari High School Rattler Football Greats through the Decades, 1920s-1990s by Billy Jack Turnbeaugh will be available during the reunion.
Obviously, the paper has set our minds to thoughts of the coming reunion, and we’ll be visiting about it again as we near the first weekend in August.